Hawaii 11 year old SSH ridden in western saddle and snaffle wonder bit in ring, pasture, trails by experienced rider

Question: Kokoamo Girl is a wonderful, smooth-gaited Spotted Saddle Horse.  She is a joy to ride.  My problem occurs when I want her to do a slow canter in the ring.  She likes speed but will slow down to a normal canter when asked.  However, I want her to do the slow rocking chair canter that she is capable of.  She is capable of it since she has done it a small number of times and it was great.  At those times she seemed to transition into the flowing canter (actually more like a saddlebred canter) from her running walk.  How can I
get her to do this smooth canter when I ask her to?

From Panelist Liz Graves


You may want to try a different bit. It may be that the Wonder bit is not giving her enough support in the mouth to maintain the nice lifting canter. I might try a mullen mouth piece of a Billy Allen mouth piece.  Along with this also comes keeping the hindquarters engaged so they are under her to help her lift her front end off the ground and not get to strung out behind which will keep her more level in the canter instead of the walking horse rocking. Don't do any bumping or pumping of the reins, just keep a nice sound set hands so she can work off the bit and you may want to try keeping the outside rein just a bit tighter than the inside rein. If she starts to speed up or fall out of the canter in the corners, which I see happen a lot. 

Put light pressure with your inside leg a bit more to the shoulder, so the shoulder does not drop in the corners, this keeps you horses body vertical to the ground and not leaning to the inside of the ring. Also at the same time lift up (not pull back) the inside rein  about an
inch to keep the head vertical to the ground too, because if it tips to the out side when they lean at a corner then the inside shoulder drops and you loose consistency and lift in the canter.

To clarify inside and outside , by this I mean inside being to the center of the ring and outside being to the rail.


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